When I was a young girl, everything that an older girl did (“older” being about 13 and up) was fascinating to me. I wanted to be just like her. I followed her around and constantly demanded attention: “Can I tell you a story? Hey, are you going to the fair on Saturday, like us? Watch me turn a cartwheel!” When she did pay attention to me, I was ecstatic. She liked me! She found me interesting!
I have very fond memories of the “older girls” of my childhood. I still respect and love the woman who played pretend with me and my siblings, the teenager who dressed up dolls for hours with us, and the young lady who enraptured me with tales about race horses and captured stars and evil witches. Those women, in their own small way, changed my life.
Now, I am a woman myself, and I recognize the same awe and excitement in the faces of my little friends when they see me.
Recently, my family met another family, which includes a number of young ladies. Four days after we made friends, a letter arrived in the mail. Each of the “older girls” in my family received a letter from one of the “younger girls,” with this reminder in the post-script: “Please write back.” Their genuine enthusiasm and delight at receiving our answering letters reminded me of those old days when an “older” girl’s letters meant so much to me.
Of course, being a friend to the younger crowd is not always convenient.
Do I want to play tag all the time? Not really, but I get a kick out of watching the girls enjoy my participation.
Do I sometimes want a little more space? Perhaps, but I know I can always find time later for myself, and when the girls are present, spending time with them is more important.
Do I always have the time or energy to devote to the things they ask of me? No, and sometimes I have to politely decline.
But those times when I make the effort to be a good friend have rewarded me many times over with smiles, hugs, and declarations that we will be “Best Friends Forever!”
The time that a young woman spends with a small child means far more than she can ever imagine. If we “older girls” can get past the self-consciousness of hanging out with a younger crowd and the “inconvenience” of being an object of rapt attention, we will discover a joy we would have never experienced otherwise.
The younger generation is hungry for role models and mentors who can show them how to be women of God. I know that much of who I am today is because of the older women in my life—yes, even the teenagers who played Monopoly with me.
Will you step out in faith and love, and become a friend to a younger sister today?
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.